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while he drove off in all the gaiety of hope and expectation, I was left at Sedbergh, a solitary boor.
The contrast indeed between me, the son of a mere yeoman, or if a gentleman, a decayed one, who knew not where he was to look for fortune, and this young heir, who had the whole world before him, and who had thus left me friendless behind, gave me a pang which I did not soon recover. I moped, and sought out the darkest corners, in which to hide tears which I actually shed, but of which I am now ashamed; for I am afraid they sprang from a double motive; one, far less worthy than the other. For though I certainly grieved for the loss of my friend, the contrast I have mentioned, between his brilliant prospect and my own, struck me with double force. I railed at the inequalities of fortune, and (let me confess my weakness) it made me almost repine, not only that I too was not destined to Eton, but that I could not also proceed there in a chariot and four.--So much for Socrates !
I consoled myself, however, as all persons who are proud, but whose fortune does not square with the good opinion they have of themselves, generally do, with the assurance that if I was not as rich and great as Foljambe, I deserved to be so, and that in truth he had never given me reason to distrust that he thought so himself. Thus I long felt with delight the pressure of his hand in mine when we parted, and his assurance that Eton, new companions, would never make him forget Sedbergh, or me, still dwelt upon
Hastings had often asked why we should not go through the world together, as we had through the school ? talked warmly of my coming to see him in
vacation at Foljambe Park; and of our meeting again at College, if I obtained (of which he had no doubt) the exhibition at Queen's College, which was annexed to Sedbergh, and which enabled the holder to pursue an Oxford education.
These were delightful dreams, and my love for Foljambe was only increased by the thought how totally he was without the least alloy of that pride which often makes unequal friendships so miserable.
All this redoubled my exertion in study, as the only mode of realizing a dream so charming. The days therefore passed on, busily, if not happily; and the energy of the Iliad, and my keen interest about its heroes, brought me rapidly on in Greek.
At the same time I made an advance (or something like it) of another kind. For Mrs. Crackenthorpe, who added a prolific nature to her other good qualities as a wife, had bestowed upon her husband no less than four daughters, crimson as peonies, full of health and buttermilk ; and these buxom females, always flitting about me, laid hold of my young imagination in a manner I did not understand. They were homely enough, but still they were females, and though not above sixteen, I began even at that age to think of the other sex as beings far different from our own, in the respect due to them, and the interest which in me, I knew not why, they always created.
Yet in regard to these Misses Crackenthorpe, the feeling, though it shewed me what I was made of, was not dangerous. Even at that young age, though I liked a game of romps, in which a sort of Galatea coquetry was very well understood between us,* I felt the want of something more symmetrical in form,
* Malo me petit Galatea lasciva puella.
something more delicate in manner, than these female beefeaters exhibited. They had all thick ankles, large feet, and red elbows, and though the seeing them roll sometimes in the hayfield, which disclosed these charms, was excellent amusement, they luckily proved antidotes instead of attractions.
In short, I was no Spartan, and never could bear a grenadier in petticoats.
I now went home for a vacation, but I was unluckily not too happy at home. My fondness for books, and the remembrance of Foljambe's friendship, did not add to its attractions. I loved my plain father and mother, and I respected (perhaps sometimes envied) the strong nerves and brawny limbs of my brothers. And, to do them justice, they did not seem to despise me, though I was neither a farmer nor a sportsman ; but I preferred the old castle gardens, or the library of Sir Harry's Hall house, which were still open to me, to inspecting a mow, or attending a market.
My brothers generally honoured me with the sobriquet of “ t’young doctor.”* But as this was the extent of their disparagement and their wit, I consoled myself with looking forward to the return of my friend from Eton, and the promised summons, consequent thereon, to Foljambe Park.
In this I was for a long time bitterly disappointed. The vacations of Eton and Sedbergh seldom tallied; so that though I twice received the longed-for invitation, the interdictions of my father and Cracken:horpe prevented my accepting it. During the whole of one Christmas, when we were both at home, I was made prisoner by illness, and during another, Fol* A provincial contraction in Yorkshire for “ the young."
jambe himself was absent in London. Thus, I had entirely finished my school course, and was on the eve of my eighteenth birthday, before such an arrangement could be made as permitted me to enjoy this longexpected visit.
Meantime I had obtained the exhibition for which I was a candidate, and which, eked out by a small allowance which
father was able to make, was to send me on the foundation to Queen's College, at Oxford, a consummation for which I was devoutly preparing, when the long-delayed summons to pass a few days with Hastings at his father's arrived, and was eagerly accepted. I say eagerly, becaụse, inexperienced as I was as to manners, or a way of life different from that I was accustomed to at home, or at best at the Hall Place, I was not in the least uneasy at the thought of presenting myself to my friend's family, superior as I knew them to be. Behold me, therefore, with a heart beating high with happy expectation, on the road to the promised land.
On my arrival, I found my friend waiting for me before some great gates, which seemed to belong to a fortified town, rather than a park, and led through an avenue of half-a-mile to his paternal mansion. He was glad to see me, though he was quieter in his demonstrations of it than I had expected, and a great deal quieter than myself. For I leaped into his arms, and embraced him with fervour, nay, even with tears.
This rather surprised him, for we had both advanced comparatively towards manhood since we parted, and I question if my friend, who had also been emancipated from Eton, thought he had any farther advance to make to complete his title to the toga virilis. He returned the embrace, but shed no tears-he had,
as I thought, too much self-possession, and talked rather quizzingly of my Yorkshire heartiness.
This, however, a more fashionable coat, and what I supposed a more fashionable, that is, rather a less natural, manner than had belonged to him in the wilds of Sedbergh, were the only differences which Eton and absence seemed to have produced. In all other respects, he appeared the same warm, friendly fellow he had been; and in the eagerness of our mutual inquiries, and the joy of meeting again, we forgot, if either had remembered, the difference in lot which subsisted between the squire's and the decayed gentleman's son.
I have, however, more reasons for remembering this epoch. In proceeding up the avenue, something sped towards us which at first I took for a young fawn, so swift was its motion, so graceful its bound. It appeared of the air, for it seemed not earthly. What was my surprise, when, advancing nearer, I plainly observed it was a young human being, for it had a human form, and a face dazzling with animation : and yet not human either; for it was more like one of the fairies I had read of, and if so, surely of fairies the queen herself.
Foljambe, seeing my surprise, said, “ It is my sister Bertha: she has not seen me to-day, and is impatient to join me. I dare say she has played truant from her governess to do so.”
By this time the graceful girl, in all the bloom and vivacity of sweet sixteen, had come up to us, and playfully reproached Foljambe for going out without as usual coming to see her. Her playfulness, however, fled when I was presented to her; and the necessity for the artificial ceremonial she had been taught on the salutation of a stranger seemed to put her natural